Watch Dogs: Legion is a wild game, especially in how it populates its world. The player isn't a single character, instead you're tasked with creating your own cell of the DedSec collective in London. Every NPC can be recruited and every citizen has their own skills, weapons, jobs, and backstories.
In a recent hands-on preview session with a current build of Watch Dogs: Legion, one trait jumped out at me. One of my randomly-generated characters was Jadzia Wojcik, a professional hitman. One of Jadzia's main abilities was gun kata, allowing her to make instant takedowns when wielding a gun.
If "gun kata" isn't striking any bells, then you may not have seen 2002's Equilibrium. The action film, directed by Kurt Wimmer and starring Christian Bale and Taye Diggs, portrays a future where emotions have been outlawed. The enforcement of this law is left to the Grammaton Clerics, practitioners of the art of gun kata.
As described in the film itself:
"Through analysis of thousands of recorded gunfights, the Cleric has determined that the geometric distribution of antagonists in any gun battle is a statistically-predictable element. The gun kata treats the gun as a total weapon, each fluid position representing a maximum kill zone, inflicting maximum damage on the maximum number of opponents, while keeping the defender clear of the statistically-traditional trajectories of return fire. By the rote mastery of this art, your firing efficiency will rise by no less than 120%. The difference of a 63% increased lethal proficiency makes the master of the gun katas an adversary not to be taken lightly," explains one character in the film.
It is one of the dumbest, most fantastic things of a very dumb movie. It's a rigid manifestation of something called gun fu, gun-based combat as originated by director John Woo in the '80s. Gun fu made the guns the part of the fight, in the same way fists, feet, swords, and other weapons were used in Hong Kong films before Woo's time. The modern gun fu experience is John Wick, the popular action series starring Keanu Reeves. Gun fu straddles some vague reality, gun kata as shown in Equilibrium, is straight nonsense.
Oddly enough, the term "gun fu" finds its earliest use in the pen-and-paper RPG Cyberpunk 2020, as one of the many martial arts styles. Cyberpunk 2020 eventually led to the upcoming CD Projekt Red title, Cyberpunk 2077. Gun kata is an idea with a lot of history and a term calling back to a dumb action film from 2002. Which is to say, it's the kind of thing that immediately caught my eye and I was excited to see mentioned at all. You can read more about my time with Watch Dogs: Legion in my hands-on preview.
Watch Dogs: Legion is officially coming to PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Google Stadia on October 29, 2020, with potential launch on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X. Ubisoft has five titles planned to launch before the end of this fiscal year on March 31, 2021: Assassin's Creed Valhalla, Watch Dogs: Legion, Rainbow Six Quarantine, Gods & Monsters, and the recently-revealed Hyper Scape.